Unity advocated by Diaspora Intellectuals Verses EPRDF’s Policy
By Solomon Gebre-Amelak
July 18 2008
Since EPRDF become the governing party in Ethiopia, Ethiopian intellectuals persistently attacked most of EPRDF policy. Of all those policies, the one rhetoric they continue to chew and sing is called “Unity”. In this article I will analyze EPRDF idea of what unity are verses Diaspora intellectuals.
Intellectuals policy regarding “Unity”:
They really do not have a policy. Just like all of their issue against EPRDF, they do not have a policy for unity. They are convinced that by pointing out the problems with the other party, they are providing a policy. Pointing out an issue or objecting to an idea is one thing, but you must give an idea or a policy that you think is better. So far none exist. It seems though in a subtle way, they are trying to preach of one special language and culture. This type of unity could only be accomplished through force. It also has not worked in the past, what makes them think it could work now?
In my understanding EPRDF, does not believe in forced unity. It has studied Haile Sellasie, and Mengistu version of unity, and it did not do any good for the country. Haile Sellasie, Mengistu tried to accomplish unity through force, and through marginalizing cultural, and linguistic groups. ERPDF answer to the question of unity is education, freedom to celebrate once language and culture, and development.
First Ingredient of Unity: Education
The doctors of confusion, remember the literacy rate during the DERGE and Haile Sellasie? What was the literacy rate? It was very low and it is not worth mentioning. During the Derge and Haile Sellasie regime only the few lucky people and the children of the privileged, which most often resided in Addis went to colleges. In todays, Ethiopia and yes, under EPRDF, Ethiopia as a nation is reading and writing. If you are thinking I am making up this fact, venture outside Addis Ababa, and see for yourself. But the problem is that most of you might be from Addis and the West, and might not be used to walking on sand.
Second Ingredient of Unity: Freedom to celebrate culture and Language for all Ethiopians.
Second important ingredient of unity is freedom to let the people practice celebrate a culture and a language that people have been celebrated for thousands of years. During the Derge and Haile Sellasie, communities that did not speak Amharic were systematically degraded, and made to feel embarrassed about their culture and language. In EPRDF Ethiopia, all the languages of Ethiopia and ethnic groups are important to Ethiopia, and yes they need to be appreciated on national TV. The extremist Diaspora, twisted this great policy of EPRDF, and instead claimed that EPRDF is doing this to divide and conquer. Diaspora intellectuals, your game is well understood, stop the song. Find another song. As to your dreams of destroying the beautiful cultures and languages of Ethiopia in favored of one special language, that will not happen. Yes, Ethiopia should have one official language, and it does have one. However, the other cultures and languages of Ethiopia need to be spoken and appreciated as well. People are not just a physical being. People are history, language, and culture. If we destroy their culture, and language, that means we killed them a life. EPRDF does not do that. One thing that I have noticed in the opposition politicians is that, the do not even mention nothing about the other cultures and languages? That says a lot about your intentions. Too bad we live in a world of critical thinking and information.
Third Ingredient of Unity: Development
As most of us know Ethiopia’s infrastructure is none existent. To travel from one province to another province, it takes many days. Most Ethiopian peasants may not afford to be for such a lengthy road trip. My point is for many years the different Ethiopian ethnic trips have been isolated from each other due to lack of infrastructure. Therefore, road development, industrialization, business, trade, is one of the key ingredient of development. If takes a farmer one hour or half an hour to visit another province, he or she may visit for business or even adventure. Therefore, in order for communities, villages, towns, provinces, and ethnic groups come together, we need the necessary infrastructure. So, to our PHD unity experts, rhetoric is not the answer to the question of unity and national identity.
Ethiopia PHD Diasporas, your PHDS does not make you the fountain of truth. All your remarks will be questions and put to test. As I have shown above all the Diaspora PHDS remarks regarding unity, has always been rhetoric. But you guys never outlined ways to accomplish unity. That is why I believe your purpose is to confuse, and insult our intelligence. If you guys are convinced that EPRDF will be defeated through this type of lies and misinformation, good luck. On my part, I am convinced by EPRDF’s policy; the main ingredients of unity are education, freedom to celebrate once culture and language, and development.
Next article will be: On who is the majority, and who is the minority party? On my next article, I will argue and proof that indeed EPRDF is the majority party. The opposition had fooled them to believe that they are the majority party